How I Feel About Flying on the 737 MAX

Back in June, after we published this post, a reader tweeted at me asking how I felt about flying on the 737 MAX. With the plane still grounded (the certification flight that would begin the process of returning the 737 MAX to the skies is expected in October), I thought I’d share my thoughts. And I decided to compile them in a post in case others are interested, too. From Twitter:

Q Just wondering how you feel about flying in a ‘max’ after this?

A Short answer: I’ll avoid flying on the 737 MAX for a solid six months once the airlines start flying it again. And the longer answer…

The Boeing 737 MAX had been flying commercial routes since 2017, but after its second crash within six months—under similar circumstances—almost everyone on the planet became wary of flying on it.

As for me, I flew on a 737 MAX for the first time just two weeks before the second crash, from LGA to MIA with AA. I waited so long to fly it not because I was afraid of it crashing. Instead, I waited because I’d heard many travelers and flight crew complain about how uncomfortable it was (because AA and others crammed so many seats into it and made the lavatories ridiculously small). After all that’s happened, six months after the plane is flying again is the earliest I’d fly it.

And following a recent setback, the 737 MAX won’t fly again until late this year. The earliest it will return seems to be November, but I doubt that happens. Southwest has taken the plane out of its holiday schedule and is planning on a January 5th return if everything goes as scheduled—but again, I doubt it will.

In my humble opinion, Boeing and the FAA took a serious hit in this crisis. Before the crashes, my planes of choice were almost always Boeings. Flight attendants would often tell me that they liked them most as they rarely broke down, unlike Airbus’s planes did. One flight attendant even sang those thoughts to me like a tag line: “Boeing is best.” Sadly, that’s not the case anymore in many eyes, including mine. It will take years, if not decades, for Boeing to regain the trust of the public and make people feel comfortable flying on the 737 MAX, and even its newer-model planes. Stay tuned.

Which airlines have 737 MAX jets?

Here’s a map that includes every airline that’s taken delivery of the problematic jet straight from Boeing’s website. In the U.S., American (AA), Southwest and United fly the 737 MAX.

What do you think?

Do you agree? Will you avoid flying on the 737 MAX and any new planes Boeing comes out with? Or do you have confidence in them? Share in the comments below!

Johnny Jet

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